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ARDC warns of fraudulent email targeting lawyers

Posted on March 8, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission is warning of a phishing threat aimed at Illinois lawyers.

“A phishing attack targeting lawyers has been reported recently by state disciplinary authorities in District of Columbia, Florida, Iowa, Missouri and California,” the ARDC reports. “Emails received by lawyers in those states purport to notify the lawyer of a disciplinary complaint, usually with the subject line ‘Bar Complaint’ or something similar, in an attempt to lure the lawyer into responding by clicking on links to files that open malicious software.

The ARDC has also received several reports of this happening to Illinois lawyers. If you receive one of these fraudulent emails, please do not respond or click on any attachments. Delete it immediately. The ARDC DOES NOT notify lawyers of the initiation of disciplinary investigations via email except when there is difficulty in contacting the lawyer via U.S. mail.”

If you have questions about an email that purports to be from the ARDC, contact the Commission.

U.S. Attorney's Office, Central Illinois District, seeks Criminal AUSA

Posted on March 8, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

The U.S. Attorneys' Office, Central Illinois District, seeks a Criminal Assistant United States Attorney. Criminal AUSAs prosecute federal criminal cases in the District. They advise federal law enforcement agents on criminal investigations, present criminal cases to the grand jury, try criminal cases before the United States District Court, and may represent the United States in criminal appeals before the Circuit Court of Appeals. Candidates should be capable of handling a variety of significant and complex criminal prosecutions. 

Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be an active member of the bar (any U.S. jurisdiction), and have at least 1 year post-J.D. legal or other relevant experience. The Central District of Illinois is headquartered in Springfield with staffed offices in Peoria, Rock Island, and Urbana. This position is located in Urbana. The application deadline is March 17. Find out more.

Best Practice: Law firm merger – are we a suitable candidate?

Posted on March 8, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

Asked and Answered

By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Q. We have a two-partner firm in Columbus, Ohio. We have two staff members, and there are no other attorneys in the firm. We have been in practice together for 17 years. I am 62 and my partner is in his fifties. My practice is limited to intellectual property and my partner’s practice is limited to medical malpractice defense. Recently, as a result of lack of coverage, our unwillingness to hire associate attorneys, and our frustrations with dealing with management issues, we have decided that we would like to merge with a larger firm. However, we are concerned that our numbers may not be satisfactory. Our five-year averages are as follows:

  • Gross Revenue – $500,000
  • Expenses – $240,000
  • Net Income – $260,000

Since we split the pot evenly we each made $130,000 on average. With these numbers are we a suitable candidate or are we just whistling in the wind? We would appreciate your thoughts.

Proposed legislation would limit civil asset forfeiture

Posted on March 7, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

On January 25, 2017, Illinois State Representatives Will Guzzardi, Steven Andersson, and Tom Demmer introduced HB 689. The bill, which has bipartisan support and 14 other co-sponsors, would amend various asset-forfeiture statutes to increase fairness to property owners, increase transparency in the forfeiture process, and remove financial incentives that encourage police and prosecutors to seize citizens' property.

Civil forfeiture is heavily used under current Illinois law. Unlike criminal asset forfeiture, civil forfeiture does not require a criminal conviction before an individual's property can be taken by the government. In some situations, property owners may not be aware that a forfeiture proceeding is taking place because the case is brought in rem. HB 689 would change that.

The bill's changes are in line with recommendations by two strange ideological bedfellows, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and the Illinois Policy Institute. The two organizations recently produced an article examining asset forfeiture in Illinois and proposing reforms for the existing system (read it at

Find out more about the bill in the March Illinois Bar Journal.

March with ISBA in the 2017 Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade

Posted on March 7, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

The ISBA Marketing & Communications Committee invites you to march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade this Saturday, March 11. The Committee will be meeting at the Chicago Office, 20 S. Clark, 9th floor between 11 and 11:30 a.m. before marching over to the parade site on Columbus Drive. You may also meet the group at ISBA's parade spot No. 99. The parade kicks off at noon.

Contact Melissa Burkholder at for further information.

CLE: General Practice Update 2017: Quincy Regional Event

Posted on March 7, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

Enhance your professional excellence by attending this full-day seminar in Quincy on March 24, 2017 that gives you the opportunity to update your knowledge in a number of general practice areas! Attorneys with basic to intermediate levels of practice experience who attend this seminar will better understand: how mobile and desktop software applications can help you practice more efficiently; the recent changes to the trust account regulations by the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission; common mistakes and errors (and how to avoid them) when dealing with recent changes in how divorces are handled in Illinois; how e-filing and cameras in the courtroom will affect the Eighth Judicial Circuit; the recent cases involving search and seizure and other criminal law issues; the Illinois Parentage Act; how to use mediation and alternative dispute resolution in your practice; how to increase civility in your practice, both in person and on social media; and the best methods for having personal collections and items appraised for trusts and estates.

The seminar is presented by the ISBA General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Section. It qualifies for 7.0 hours MCLE credit, including 4.0 hours Professional Responsibility MCLE credit (subject to approval).

Click here for more information and to register.


Act now to join ISBA Ireland trip in September

Posted on March 6, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

This is your last call to join the Honorable Russell W. Hartigan and his wife Susan on the 2017 ISBA President's Trip to Ireland September 8-17, 2017. This eight night tour of the emerald isle includes visits to Dublin, Belfast, the Cliffs of Moher, and much more. For only $4,599 per person, you'll get five star accommodations, a special welcome reception and farewell dinner, traditional Irish breakfast every day, gratuities for your local guides, transfers to and from the airports in Shannon and Dublin, and an exclusive Go Next Program Manager to make sure everything runs without a hitch. Read the trip brochure to find out more.

This special offer expires March 13, 2017, so this is your last chance to hop on this trip of a lifetime. Space is limited, so book now by calling 844-215-1589 and reserve your spot today!

CLE: Economic Development in Your Community: Learn from the Leaders (Live Webcast)

Posted on March 2, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

Don’t miss this in-depth look at the various types of economic development incentives that are available to local governments – from TIFs and Business Development Districts, to Special Services Areas and more! Attorneys with all levels of practice experience who attend this online seminar on March 15, 2017 will better understand: the financial elements of economic development incentives and how financing is an area of special concern; the role of bond counsel; how the Prevailing Wage Law can impact the economic development in your community; what not to do when using incentives; and how to structure redevelopment agreements.

The seminar is presented by the ISBA Local Government Law Section and qualifies for 2.0 hours MCLE credit.

Click here for more information and to register.